The Saturn Return Project: Why do you work in Los Angeles?
Eric Johnson: It's the creative capital of the world. More people from more places come here to create amazing music, movies, TV shows, videogames, youth culture and of course, advertising.
TRSP: What makes that market unique?
EJ: There is a spirit of collaboration and creativity like no other place.
TSRP: What makes the work coming out of Los Angeles different than any other market?
EJ: There is a deeper understanding that marketing is content, and you can make your work as important and interesting as the content it surrounds.
TSRP: Do you believe there is a difference between Northern and Southern West Coast advertising?
EJ: I don't know if you can define it quite so narrowly. There are great firms in Northern California, and great firms in SoCal. as well. LA has the unique ability to tap into pop culture due to its proximity to the entertainment industry
TSRP: Is there an LA advertising community that gathers outside of each individual agency (i.e. strong networking community)?
EJ: Yes, thinkLA is the largest and most active marketing community in a geography in the country. 40 events that range from 20 to 1,200 per event.
TSRP: What inspired you to get into advertising?
EJ: I was in a senior marketing role in last job, and saw that the market was about to be turned upside down as digital changed the rules for advertising from 1-way to 2-way.
TSRP: What is the best part of your day?
EJ: A killer strategy session solving a client’s problem.
TSRP: What keeps you from ever leaving the business?
EJ: It's the most fun you can have without a jersey or a tie.
TSRP: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
EJ: See clients succeed with the work we do.
TSRP: At what point did you take note of digital in a meaningful way as a new media that was going to change (or at least affect) the advertising industry?
EJ: In 1994, when we did the first dedicated website for a videogame.
TSRP: Best work you’ve seen out there right now?
EJ: As a guy from Detroit, I am pleased to see some good work coming out of the domestic auto manufacturers, finally.
TSRP: Your personal career pinnacle to date?
EJ: Starting this agency.